Chalking out its budget expectations from the Union Budget 2015/16, the Retailers Association of India (RAI) has appealed to the FM for industry status and a National Policy for Retail and Internal Trade. The industry body has submitted a 10-point retail policy agenda to the government.
The recommendations sent by the association are: flexibility to farmers, manufacturers, dealers and consumers; early implementation of GST; creation of retail and entertainment zoning norms; development of infrastructure; simplification of labour laws; skill development; single-window licensing; facilitating financing and investment options for retail; and exemption from weekly closure of shops.
Indian retail market is counted among the top four in the world and is one of the fastest growing. It accounts for 14 percent of GDP and employs over 7 percent of the total workforce, second-largest employer after agriculture, RAI said. However, the segment is affected with business challenges such as inadequate physical infrastructure, inefficiencies in supply chain, complex regulatory environment and shortage of skilled manpower, among others.
“Lack of ‘status’ to retail means lack of focus from the banking and financing sectors. Small retailers still use parallel means of finance – including traditional moneylenders. Recognized status would provide better access to funding. Also, lending to MSME retailers would be included under priority sector lending norms,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO of RAI, in a report.